8 Famous Chemists from MSIs

by Carol Sandoval

Schools in the U.S. are integrating STEM programs into their curriculum. As we continue to educate students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, it is important to remember the specialists who have advanced these fields. Today’s MSI Line Up features important chemists who are also alumni of eight Minority Serving Institutions.

1) Henry Aaron HillJohnson C. Smith University (HBCU)

Photo of Henry Aaron Hill

As the first African American president of the American Chemical Society, he established standards for employer-employee relationships in the chemical profession. He performed research on water-based paints, firefighting foam, and synthetic rubbers. Eventually, he founded the Riverside Research Laboratories, which offered research, development, and consulting services in polymer production.

2) Alice BallUniversity of Hawaii (AANAPISI/AANH)

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As the first woman and first African American to receive a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii, Alice Ball made significant contributions to the field of chemistry. Her research focused on the chemical makeup of Chaulmoogra oil. From this oil, she developed an injectable oil extract which was the most effective treatment for leprosy.

3) St. Elmo BradyFisk University (HBCU)

Portrait of St. Elmo Brady, undated. Courtesy University of Illinois Archives.

St. Elmo Brady graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Fisk University in 1908. At Fisk, he developed his research interests. He studied organic acids, infrared spectroscopy, and halogen compounds. As a graduate student at Tuskegee University, he published many research journals and he was later admitted to Phi Lambda Upsilon, the national chemistry honor society.

4) Henry Cecil McBayWiley College (HBCU)

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At the young age of 20, Henry Cecil McBay graduated with cum laude honors from Wiley College where he fell in love with organic chemistry. Later, as the only black student in his graduate class, he researched and wrote a dissertation on the “Reactions of Atoms and Free Radicals in Solution.” After earning his Ph.D. in chemistry, he taught at Morehouse College for many years.

5) Larry RobinsonUniversity of Memphis (PBI)

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Larry Robinson graduated summa cum laude from the University of Memphis. His research focused on environmental chemistry, including the detection of trace elements in environmental matrices by nuclear methods. He received his Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry from Washington University. He is currently the president of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

6) Walter Lincoln HawkinsHoward University (HBCU)

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After receiving his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he completed a master’s degree in chemistry at Howard University and a doctoral degree at McGill University. His specialization was cellulose chemistry. In 1956, Hawkins invented a polymer for the coating of telephone cables that prevents the material from deteriorating, even in severely hot or cold weather conditions.

7) Beebe Steven LynkLane College (HBCU)

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In 1892, Beebe Steven Lynk graduated from Lane College. In 1903, she received a Ph.C at the University of Western Tennessee. An advocate for women’s rights, she was a member of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs. In 1896, wrote a book on raising the social and cultural status of African American women through education and fostering respectability. The book was called Advice to Colored Women.

8) Margaret E. M. TolbertTuskegee University (HBCU)

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In 1967, Margaret E. M. Tolbert graduated from Tuskegee University with a major in chemistry and a minor in mathematics. During her time as a professor and a researcher, she studied the conductivity and electrical conductance of different chemicals in water solutions.

Know of other chemist alumni from Minority Serving Institutions? Share in the comments below!

5 Scholarships Designed for MSI students

Two of the most prominent buzz words of high school experiences: college and scholarships. It’s general knowledge that post-secondary education is the ticket to a better life. However, this ticket comes at a high price. The cost of college has grown exponentially and for many low-income and middle-class families, it is becoming impossible to pay for college without financial assistance. Scholarships have become one of the most sought out methods to offset the cost of higher education and experiences associated with attending. Free resources to find scholarships such as fastweb.com or scholarship.com can be a time-consuming task. Thus, this week’s MSI Line Up features scholarships designed for students attending Minority Serving Institutions.

1) Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Scholarship Program—Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps

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Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) offers scholarships to students who plan to attend an NROTC affiliated MSI. Though the Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Scholarship is open to any gender, race, or ethnic background, applicants must meet SAT or ACT thresholds and must be a Navy Option applicant. To learn more, click here.

2) EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship Program— National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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The EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship provides funds for students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) to conduct research at an NOAA’s facility for two summers. The scholarship program encompasses travel, conference participation, and an 11 week paid internship and training. Eligibility requirement and additional information can be found on their website.

3) Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Scholarship—Semester at Sea

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Diversity Abroad and Semester at Sea partner up to offer a scholarship designed for students attending Minority Serving Institutions. The scholarship award is $5000 and provided two times during the year (fall and spring). Funds will go directly to your voyage program through Semester at Sea. There is no GPA requirement associated with this scholarship. Students can find a list of Study/Travel country and link to apply here.

4) HBCU/HSI/Tribal Scholarship—Middlebury Language Schools

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Middlebury Language Schools offer scholarships to students enrolled at Historically Black College, Tribal Colleges, and Hispanic Serving Institutions. Recipients of this award receive funding for tuition, room, and board for one summer of language-intensive study. Applicants show high academic achievement and a strong interest in the eleven languages taught. Additional financial aid is available as well. There is a $75 application fee, but fee waivers are available. To learn more about application requirements click here.

 5) Minority-Serving Institution Award—Columbia College of Arts and Sciences


Interested in graduate study? The Minority Serving Institutions award offers funding assistance for graduates of MSIs. The award waives the application fee and covers at least 40 percent of tuition for students applying to a Columbian college graduate program. To qualify, you must be admitted to a graduate program at a Columbia college. All MSI graduates are not eligible; a complete list and other additional information can be found here.

Know of other MSI scholarships? Share in the comments below!

4 Federal STEM Internship Programs for MSIs

by Aisha Bowen

One of the main ways that college students prepare themselves for the work world is through internships. While internships are crucial learning and leadership experiences, opportunities are very limited. Interestingly, there are multiple internship programs for MSI students to create equity in opportunity for minority students. Today’s MSI Monday Morning Line up highlights four MSI internship programs.

1) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) Intern Program

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The FAA Minority Serving Institution Intern Program offers students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, students attending a college or university with a high percentage of Asian American and Pacific Islanders, Tribal Colleges and Universities and Students with Disabilities the chance to intern for their organization. Interns are chosen from a variety of majors such as Air Traffic Control, Aviation Management, Business Administration, Computer Science, Economics, Engineering and Information Technology. Compensation for this internship includes: “A weekly stipend plus the cost of travel, orientations, workshops, field trips, mentoring and coaching.” Learn more about the FAA Minority Serving Institution Intern Program here.

2) U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM)

U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) currently offers 10-week paid internships called the “Department of Energy Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP)” in 6 locations and laboratories throughout country. MSIPP’s purpose is to help develop future STEM research scientists. Learn more about the MSIPP program here.

3) National Aeronautics and Space Administration


While not an internship program, NASA’s Education division currently has a Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) to improve the research, academic and technology capabilities of MSIs through multiyear grants. MUREP awards support faculty and students in STEM research related to NASA missions. These awards provide essential skills to minority students who have historically been underrepresented and underserved in STEM. Learn more about NASA’s many research, internship, and fellowship opportunities here.

4) U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Office of Small Business and Civil Rights (SBCR) had created multiple educational initiatives for HBCUs, HSIs, and TCUs, in ordern to train minority students in the field as well as train up potential NRC employees. Opportunities for students from HBCUs, HSIs, and TCUs include: On-the-Job Training (instruction, training, work experience, and exposure to new and emerging occupations and professions in science, engineering, law, information technology,), Research and Development Opportunities (short-term/longterm research partnerships with NRC, Federal laboratories), and Internships (year-round internships, within NRC affiliated labs, Federal work environments, and various private and public organizations). Learn more about the NRC’s current initiatives with MSIs here.

Know of other Federal STEM Internship Programs for MSIs? Share in the comments below!